CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One just has to read the newspaper or listen to the radio or TV, and it is fairly easy to recognize why many of our best and brightest students do not choose teaching as a profession. Teachers are constantly portrayed as the villains for all of the problems that plague our education system.
As a society, we don't blame crime on the police. We don't blame our cavities on our dentists. We don't blame fires on the fireman or cancer on doctors. But we certainly blame the perceived problems in our education system on teachers. Why is that?
The vast majority of teachers go to school each and every day with one goal in mind -- to be the best teachers they can and to do all they can to help the students in their class succeed. They buy their own supplies and pay from their own pocket to take classes to better their teaching skills. They are just as dedicated to their craft as doctors, accountants, businessmen and other professionals.
And yet, teachers are constantly vilified in today's society. Sadly, many teachers encourage their own children to enter other professions. They cite low pay, morale issues and respect as key components.
I can't say I know how to fix all of the issues that our education system faces. However, I say with a high level of certainty the recent Education Efficiency Audit conducted by the consulting firm Public Works LLC doesn't contain the magic bullet.
One key component is missing from the "efficiency" audit; an extensive dialogue with the people who are in the schools every day -- teachers. When we have a crisis in business we call in businessmen to solve the problems. The same is true with a medical or banking crisis. When issues arise, we tend to call in the people who have experience in the chosen arena. Not so when it comes to education.
If teachers were asked, I believe they would say education is suffering from a series of internal and external factors. The external factors included poverty, absenteeism, lack of parental involvement, etc. Internal factors include poor policy/curriculum choices at the federal, state and county levels, the emphasis on standardized testing, the push for all students to learn the same thing at the same pace, etc.
For many who have read this far; they are now saying to themselves, "Here we go again. The unions are telling us what we need to do. Teacher unions are the problem." After all, it is just convenient to blame teachers and blame teacher unions.